Strand R, Fernström N, Holmberg A, De Marinis Y, Fraenkel C, Rasmussen M
Infect Dis (Lond) - (-) 1-6 [2021-05-11; online 2021-05-11]
Nosocomial outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can have devastating consequences from both a resource cost and patient healthcare perspective. Relying on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for identifying infected individuals may result in missed cases. Screening for antibodies after an outbreak can help to find missed cases and better illuminate routes of transmission. In this study, we present the results of a serological screening of the healthcare workers (HCWs) on a ward for infectious diseases in Sweden with a point-of-care antibody test 8 weeks after an outbreak of COVID-19. In all, 107/123 (87%) of HCWs who were tested with RT-PCR in the outbreak investigation participated in this study on seroprevalence. Participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire entailing epidemiological data. The cohort was stratified by RT-PCR result and the resulting groups were compared to each other. Six (8%) HCWs who were tested RT-PCR negative during the outbreak investigation had developed specific IgG antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). These HCWs had all worked shifts with colleagues who later were tested RT-PCR positive during the outbreak. Our results indicate that a serological follow-up screening after an outbreak may be used as a complement to virus detection in an outbreak situation. However, immunoglobulin (Ig) G-detection should also be performed at the start of an outbreak, to facilitate interpretation of the results.